After middling-to-unsatisfactory starts to the Premier League season West Ham and Cardiff City are two sides with bigger fish to fry than the Capital One Cup. With both teams likely to field much-changed teams at Upton Park the one thing to bank on could be over 2.5 goals at 4/5.
Sam Allardyce’s hosts are even money for victory inside 90 minutes, whilst the Bluebirds are 5/2 and the draw is 12/5.
The third round of the League Cup is notorious for goal-fests and with a mere three of the 16 ties at this stage last year throwing up less than 2.5 goals.
With many clubs involved more concerned with the serious business of chasing titles or getting relegation-battling points on the board in the league, the competition will often see squad players and youngsters given a chance to shine whilst key players are rested.
As a result a certain downturn in team coherence can be expected, along with a smattering of unexpectedly strong performances and these could well be reasons for this high-scoring trend.
In terms of who prevails in a battle neither side is desperate to win logic would suggest that the hosts should be in the box seat, with their full-strength incarnation beating that of Cardiff on the opening day of the season.
However, with the likes of Craig Noone, Mark Hudson, Don Cowie and Jordan Mutch thought to be in contention for starts at Upton Park Cardiff can come out on top at 5/2.
The aforementioned quartet were all regulars in the Championship during City’s title-winning campaign and will be keen as mustard to remind Malky Mackay of what they have to offer, as will recent signing Peter Odemwingie, who has yet to start for the Bluebirds.
Aligned with this hunger amongst Mackay’s squad players will be a greater coherence than West Ham’s alternative XI, brought about by their ample playing time together last term and that could be enough to swing the tie their way.